Have you ever heard of the terms 'Grass-fed or Grassed-finished', or maybe you've seen grassed fed meat at the supermarket and wondered what it's all about?

To clear the definitions up once and for all I spoke with meat expert, Tim White - Co–owner of 1888 Certified in Double Bay  to find out which options provide the best health benefits.

What is the difference between grass fed and grass finished meat and how does it effect meat quality? 

The way cattle and sheep are fed can have a major effect on the nutrient composition of the meat. The conventionally raised cattle are often given drugs and hormones to grow faster, as well as antibiotics to survive the unsanitary living conditions.

Grass-fed cattle continue to live on natural pasture for the remainder of their lives. To be classified as grain fed animals need to be fed more than 60 days on grain (this has recently decreased from 100 days!). Cattle or sheep can be fed grain for less than than 60 days and be classified as Grass fed – this is the bulk of supermarket meat sold in Australia (and many butchers). 

Grass finished means the animal lives its entire life on pasture. Grain-fed beef is much lower in omega-3’s and conjugated linoleic acid. Meat can be a good source of omega-3’s, if it’s grass-fed and as well as containing more healthy fats than grain fed meat. The visual difference between grain fed and grass fed meat is obvious! The grass-fed meat has higher levels of carotenoids, making the fat appear yellow. More carotenoids = more antioxidants+nutrients (and more flavour). 

The verdict:

Eat more Grass fed & FINISHED meat if you know whats good for you!

If you choose to consume meat as part of a balanced diet, opting for a grass fed or finished option that has been ethically raised and is hormone free is a better option.